What It’s Like

Posted on December 9, 2003 by Jenna

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I should probably quit it with the authorial interjections for a while and just tell the story of Hitherby Dragons. If nothing else there’s enough meta in the concept as it is without the real me sticking my nose in to say stuff in the first person. But sometimes I worry about what would happen if there was a virus on my machine that sucked me and my friends into a virtual world where we had to defeat an evil interpreter to return to our reality.

And okay, To be honest, I’m worrying about it right now.

I kind of wanted—before I, you know, spend the next few years of entries just telling the story—to get that off my chest.

If I got sucked into the world of the machine, would I be able to keep posting? What about posts that I’d already written? Would they get changed behind my back?

What if nothing is stable? What if the foundations of reality itself could … shift, like suddenly frictionless triscuits?

So I’m sitting here poking at my peanut butter firewall.

I don’t know if it’s what computer security experts would recommend. They’re probably all in the pay of sinister virus programs anyway. But I know to call it a firewall.

It’s called a firewall because you can’t actually burn peanut butter, and even if you could, it would taste pretty grody. I mean, really, really bad. So it stops fires.

And it works for stopping viruses. (Unless.)

It works for stopping viruses. The bits have to pass through the peanut butter in order to get to my machine, which makes them all sticky. Then they get swarmed by peanut-butter-loving white blood spreadsheet cells.

I’m pretty much safe. (Unless, until… .)

Until the virus writers start coding in sardines. ‘Cause sardines are the anti-peanut-butter. You slather peanut butter on a sardine and trust me, the white blood cells won’t want to swarm it.

They’ll just look out of their grids at me with that, “Er, yes, right.” look.

“Let’s not eat that,” their accusing expressions will seem to say, “and say we did.”

It’s hard to truly tame spreadsheet cells. So hard. I mean, you can make friends with them, but you can’t really domesticate them—one peanut-butter-covered sardine virus and it’s like they don’t even know you exist. And if that peanut-butter-covered sardine virus is also shooting lasers out of its eyes, there’s a serious risk they’ll turn against you.

The idea of my defense system actually working against me to suck me into the computer world …

It’s like a living nightmare that hasn’t ever happened.

You know.

Like that one where zombie Nixon attacks.

Don’t look at me that way. When Nixon says he’s going away for good, you know he’ll be back. You can’t trust Nixon! He came back to politics, and he’ll come back from the grave.

You’ll be sitting around planning Democratic strategy, and his zombie Pekingese minions will come in and start measuring your brain, and you’ll go, “Er, what?”

And they’ll say, “We’re just here to … adjust the … wastebaskets.”

And you’ll say, “Oh, carry on, then,” but they’re not wastebasket adjusters, they’re zombie Pekingese minions of a corrupt and evil ex-President who wants to eat your brain.

See? It’s like that.

Anyway, everything you see here for a while will be a letters column or a helpful data sheet or one of Jane’s shows. Unless there’s a number in the title. For some reason, the numbers mean that what you’re reading is a real history or a real story from Jane’s world.

Sardines are scared of numbers because they can’t count the reals—right?

Tell me it will keep me safe from the shifting, terrible changing chaotic nature of the world.